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Home Blog An Alumnus' Insight

An Alumnus' Insight

By Dave Powers '72, Glassblowing Artist-in-Residence 12/15/2016

This following has been reprinted from the most recent Bar Fork Bulletin, an e-newsletter that is distributed to Alumni 3 times per year.

Attending CRMS in the late sixties/early seventies was a transformative experience for me. I became really excited about learning, was immersed in a community of fascinating people, and felt meaning/purpose in many of the activities that filled our time there. Since graduating, I have spent many years here teaching and as a parent, doing what I could to make sure that students continued to have opportunities for powerful educational experiences. A while ago a graduate of the fifties was expressing to me concern; he worried that the school was not staying true to the values of the Holdens. His concern stirred my thinking, as I am often telling people visiting, or returning to the school, that it has never been better. But it is different, and the world is different. When I was a student, Manila Walters worked in the kitchen. She had come to Carbondale in a covered wagon....

In the early days, traveling in the back of the trucks was a rich part of the social dynamic. Singing and socializing on trips. Huddling for warmth in the winter. When trucks were replaced with vans, student sitting in rows, and now checking their phones... things looked different. But the school has continued to create rich opportunities for social interactions. All school meetings (still in the barn) are fantastic; not only for wonderful presentations, but also to see and hear students stand before the community and express thanks and/or take responsibility for what they may have done, and missteps taken. The school is bigger, +/- 175 students. And there are opportunities for small group interaction, like new students starting with the Wilderness program.

The campus is in great shape. The roof of the Barn is no longer in danger of collapsing. People do not need to wear hats and mittens just to make it through a class in the winter. The Holdens started the school on an old ranch. By the mid seventies rustic had given way to rundown. And by contrast, Carbondale was growing. At one point there was a lengthy debate about moving the school to a more rural location. Sites in Idaho and Montana were considered. It was thought that students could repeat the early CRMS experiences by literally rebuilding the school. The board decided to stay, and then looked to growing a school that could be true to the founding values in a rapidly changing world.

The Holdens started the school in Carbondale, not Marble, because of a longer growing season. On my first day at CRMS we all went out and harvested potatoes. Recently I heard that the school garden, with lots of work crew labor, produces up to 12,000 pounds of food. All of it used in the school kitchen. This program is flourishing.

Things like 'big sing' may have faded, but more students are engaged in the music program than ever. Evening activities have faded, but the arts are a vibrant part of the academic curriculum. Work crews have evolved to offer more skill development and community service, while adjusting to a more developed sports program.

I could go on and on about how the programs and place have changed, about how the facilities support a great academic program. Or I could delve into the Holdens founding values. But what might be more useful is to start a conversation among all of us: graduates, parents, trustees, and supporters. What value did you get (or see)? I came to CRMS after the Holdens had left, but got to know them well over the years. And I feel that my life has really benefited from the values that they planted at the school. Although the school now looks different in many ways from the early days, when I question students about what they are getting from their experiences at CRMS, I am surprised that so many of them are getting many of the same fundamentals that I got years ago.

Please contribute to this conversation and send an email info@crms.org or good old fashioned letter by USPS: Dave Powers, 500 Holden Way, Carbondale, CO 81623
3 things that you found invaluable from you time at the school
3 things that you wish you had gotten more of
3 things that students today need for the world as it may be tomorrow

Topics: alumni, sports, academics, values, garden

Blog

Home Blog An Alumnus' Insight

An Alumnus' Insight

By Dave Powers '72, Glassblowing Artist-in-Residence 12/15/2016

This following has been reprinted from the most recent Bar Fork Bulletin, an e-newsletter that is distributed to Alumni 3 times per year.

Attending CRMS in the late sixties/early seventies was a transformative experience for me. I became really excited about learning, was immersed in a community of fascinating people, and felt meaning/purpose in many of the activities that filled our time there. Since graduating, I have spent many years here teaching and as a parent, doing what I could to make sure that students continued to have opportunities for powerful educational experiences. A while ago a graduate of the fifties was expressing to me concern; he worried that the school was not staying true to the values of the Holdens. His concern stirred my thinking, as I am often telling people visiting, or returning to the school, that it has never been better. But it is different, and the world is different. When I was a student, Manila Walters worked in the kitchen. She had come to Carbondale in a covered wagon....

In the early days, traveling in the back of the trucks was a rich part of the social dynamic. Singing and socializing on trips. Huddling for warmth in the winter. When trucks were replaced with vans, student sitting in rows, and now checking their phones... things looked different. But the school has continued to create rich opportunities for social interactions. All school meetings (still in the barn) are fantastic; not only for wonderful presentations, but also to see and hear students stand before the community and express thanks and/or take responsibility for what they may have done, and missteps taken. The school is bigger, +/- 175 students. And there are opportunities for small group interaction, like new students starting with the Wilderness program.

The campus is in great shape. The roof of the Barn is no longer in danger of collapsing. People do not need to wear hats and mittens just to make it through a class in the winter. The Holdens started the school on an old ranch. By the mid seventies rustic had given way to rundown. And by contrast, Carbondale was growing. At one point there was a lengthy debate about moving the school to a more rural location. Sites in Idaho and Montana were considered. It was thought that students could repeat the early CRMS experiences by literally rebuilding the school. The board decided to stay, and then looked to growing a school that could be true to the founding values in a rapidly changing world.

The Holdens started the school in Carbondale, not Marble, because of a longer growing season. On my first day at CRMS we all went out and harvested potatoes. Recently I heard that the school garden, with lots of work crew labor, produces up to 12,000 pounds of food. All of it used in the school kitchen. This program is flourishing.

Things like 'big sing' may have faded, but more students are engaged in the music program than ever. Evening activities have faded, but the arts are a vibrant part of the academic curriculum. Work crews have evolved to offer more skill development and community service, while adjusting to a more developed sports program.

I could go on and on about how the programs and place have changed, about how the facilities support a great academic program. Or I could delve into the Holdens founding values. But what might be more useful is to start a conversation among all of us: graduates, parents, trustees, and supporters. What value did you get (or see)? I came to CRMS after the Holdens had left, but got to know them well over the years. And I feel that my life has really benefited from the values that they planted at the school. Although the school now looks different in many ways from the early days, when I question students about what they are getting from their experiences at CRMS, I am surprised that so many of them are getting many of the same fundamentals that I got years ago.

Please contribute to this conversation and send an email info@crms.org or good old fashioned letter by USPS: Dave Powers, 500 Holden Way, Carbondale, CO 81623
3 things that you found invaluable from you time at the school
3 things that you wish you had gotten more of
3 things that students today need for the world as it may be tomorrow

Topics: alumni, sports, academics, values, garden
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